Linked by Fabian M. Schindler on Tue 23rd Nov 2004 18:53 UTC
Talk, Rumors, X Versus Y Linux distros are advancing everywhere. Not only servers but also on the desktop pc and notebooks. There are wild discussions, if Linux-Distributions are ready for serious business work or personal use. This critical review will deal with two long awaited Linux-distributions, Fedora Core 3 and Ubuntus Warty Warhog. Why these two? Because both feature Gnome 2.8 and it would not be a comparision on equal terms to compare Gnome to e.g KDE. Also, both use kernel 2.6.8+ and have their very own theme for the default desktop. Bluecurve for Fedora and Human for Ubuntu.
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by Anil Wang on Wed 24th Nov 2004 14:08 UTC

MEPIS is a fine distribution, but some of us just prefer GNOME and the GNOME way of doing things to KDE. If GNOME didn't exist, I'd probably go to XFCE, not KDE.

As for the problems you've experienced, no root access by default (sudo is the default), no GCC (apt-get build-essentials if you need it), and limited services are actually a feature, not a bug. They give you a good slim system and allow you to expand it to your needs. Apt-get or Synaptic will pretty much take care of everything.

I don't *want* a bloated system that assumes that I'll eventually want to use everything so it includes everything by default. That's why I left Fedora. It's a fine distribution that *just works*, but it includes too much stuff that I don't need. I'd rather add stuff that I need than take out stuff that I don't.

The instructions on the Ubuntu wiki pretty much tell you everything you need to know to add whatever features you want:
Uncommenting out the universe line in /etc/apt/sources.list should get you most of what you need from the Debian repositories.

If that doesn't help, you can always go to the Ubuntu Forums:

Personally, I recommend the "Unofficial Ubuntu 4.10 Starter Guide" that much covers every concern you raised and more:
This is the /etc/apt/sources.list that they recommend (see below)

Granted, Ubuntu *is* a version 1.0 distro and there is further room for polish, but I like Ubuntu. It's currently the only distribution I feel comfortable recommending to newbies (once I set up the appropriate apt-sources).

deb cdrom:[Ubuntu 4.10 _Warty Warthog_ - Preview i386 Binary-1 (20041020)]/ unstable main restricted

software from the network
deb warty main restricted
deb-src warty main restricted

deb warty universe
deb-src warty universe

deb warty-security main restricted
deb-src warty-security main restricted

deb warty multiverse
deb-src warty multiverse

#deb stable main
#deb unstable main
deb testing main